Children are now learning from home through online platforms due to the Coronavirus and lock down. It is uncertain how many more weeks we will have to stay at home and most schools have started their third term online. How can you help your children adjust to this new reality? While some children have been learning online before, this is a new experience for many others and they have some adjusting to do. Below are a few things you can do to prepare your children to learn online.
Create a Conducive Learning Space and Atmosphere in the House.
Children achieve their best work in a quiet, comfortable and dedicated space devoted to learning. This will be different from where they normally play games or watch television. If your child already has a special place to do homework, that will be a great place to use. If not, you can convert the kitchen or dining table into a learning station. Keep in mind that children will be in this space for many hours each day, you need to ensure they are comfortable and have good posture.
It’s important to set up a quiet, clutter-free area in order to help them focus. They need undivided attention to learn. Make a list of the things that distract your child like toys, your dog etc, then, find ways to remove them from the learning space.
Going on YouTube or Social Media can be tempting especially because they are learning online but this is not the time. Try blocking them on your child’s device during learning time. After downloading an assignment, turn off the Wi-Fi to help your child focus on the work. If it is possible to have a separate device dedicated to learning, please do.
Create a Schedule/Routine
Good planning can reduce stress for both parents and children. A weekly schedule should be very detailed, it should also include time to eat and take a break. Take a look at your family’s schedule and figure out the best times for learning. For younger children, the best time to learn might be a time when you don’t have to work and you can give them the support and supervision they need. Figure out what works for you and implement it.
A schedule will also help you have a routine which will be beneficial. Let them shower and dress up smartly or even wear their school uniform ,if they have to, to set the tone. With no school bell to indicate that they are late or a new class is about to start, children will need a schedule to keep them on track.
Support and Monitor
It is important to confirm that your children are actually learning. Monitor their levels of interest and how well they are adapting to their new schedule. Check if they’re taking notes or if they seem lost and ask questions at the end of each lesson.
It is not your job to teach, don’t add that to your already long list of duties. If you find that your child is not engaging with the lessons, contact the school or teachers to better explore the issue. Sometimes,it could be bad audio or a poor connection.
Ensure they eat and rest well
Even in physical school, they have breaks and don’t sit all day. Make sure your kids take plenty of breaks in order to get physical activity and time away from screens. Set alarms to imitate the bells at school and encourage them to get up, get some fresh air, go for a walk or a glass of water and have a snack.
Ensure your children are eating healthy, nutritious and balanced meals and snacks that contains the right nutrient for brain development. Download this one month meal timetable to make meal planning easier.
Parental software is important.
The internet has a lot of benefits but the reality is that there is also a host of online safety tips every child needs to know. Parents are the best teachers, so we advise that parents spend time teaching and guiding children about how to be safe online. We also need to use parental control software that can be used to monitor and protect your child’s online activities. After some research and trying different products, I am very satisfied with and recommend Qustodio. You can use this link here to sign up and give yourself the peace of mind you need.
Most importantly, don’t feel overwhelmed
Please don’t feel overwhelmed. All you need to do is support your child and ensure (s)he has the right environment and attitude to learn.
For more tips on how to make online learning work for you and your child, Listen to Joy Isa, Educationist and Head of Junior School at Children’s International School, Lagos , as she speaks about practical ways to keep your children learning via online learning and other ways to engage them productively at this time.